Monday, June 20, 2016

Lots of Potential

I often think it is a dreadfully wasteful world in which we live. In particular very few people manage to achieve anything like their full potential – some get the chances and waste them, but there are so many that never get that opportunity. Here in Zambia this fact is far too obvious.

People see me as possibly their only chance to get out of the fix in which they find themselves.

I am aware that sometimes I can have a major impact on their lives. However this is a huge responsibility and can sometimes feel like a burden.

Thursday 16th June

When I awoke I checked how we were doing with the Global Giving Bonus Day. People have been very generous and £1,676 was raised during Wednesday and Thursday. Unfortunately the matched funding ran out quite quickly, so our bonus was less than I had hoped.

I had a swift breakfast with the essential cups of tea and headed for the Deli. I had checked with Google Maps and obtained directions. I checked the sun to determine which way was north-west and confirmed the direction with a security guard.

The Deli was a bit of a culture shock for me having as many white faces as those of colour and selling Lattes and Cappuccinos!

Aleia arrived at the same time and we ordered cups of tea (Earl Grey for me!) and settled down for a lengthy discussion. Of course I did most of the talking, on my favourite subject - me and my life in Africa. Although I made sure we covered the project in Monze, which unfortunately she is unlikely to visit, I also talked about some of the other things in which I am involved and told a few stories of my experiences. I hope it was all good background information about life in Zambia.

Aleia has been travelling around Africa on behalf of Global Giving since February and doesn't expect to get back home before October! She was catching a flight in the afternoon which would take her to the north of the Country.

Aleia left in a taxi at 12.30 pm and I started looking for a bus. I thought if I headed towards town I would soon come across one. I reached a roundabout and asked which road headed into town. Unfortunately it seemed that I wasn't on a bus route. However, It didn't take long to spot buses on a nearby road. So I joined Independence Avenue.

Last year I walked the length of this road looking for the Museum and failed to find it. Soon after setting off in the bus, the museum appeared very obvious to my right. I plan to visit on my last day this year.

I was dropped outside the local bus station I used on Wednesday and had no difficulty walking to Downtown, where I would get my Rosa bus. First I found a cafe and enjoyed chicken and chips.

I continue to bump into friends – even in Lusaka! A fellow said hallo and I wondered who he was and whether he has mistaken me for someone else! It turned out to be another priest who knew me from Monze. Fr. Joseph used to be an Assistant Priest at the Cathedral when Fr. Kenan was parish priest. He is now at a parish in Choma. On Wednesday night Moses – a previous chairman at Kaliyangile – turned up at Longacres Lodge and sat with me for a while in the restaurant.

It was 2.15 pm when I took my seat on the bus. I was the first passenger – not a good sign! I had already decided that this wasn't the best time to try to get a bus. So I was expecting a long wait – and I wasn't disappointed!!

I had my notebook so I decided to catch up with some e-mails while I waited. Eventually a guy sat next to me – I subsequently found out that his name was Namizeko. Like so many his schooling stopped when his parents died. He says he does nothing. He lives with a younger brother. He would love to go back to school or at least to do some business to provide food for himself and brother. He lives in Mazabuka and is not far from the Kafue Flats were they catch bream. He has done a little business in the past buying the fish there and selling in Mazabuka. He would like to re-start the business but of course has no capital – the equivalent of about £150 - £200 would be needed for him to re-establish himself. I said the best I could do was to mention him in my blog.

He was interested in what I was doing on the computer, so I connected to Skype and we chatted to Barby!

At 5 pm we set off for Monze. The conductor apologised to me for the delay – a first! Eventually we made it to Mazabuka. I was surprised when everyone started getting off the bus, but soon realised this was as far as it went!! The bus was quite full, as was the bus to which we transferred. Somehow we all managed to get on – and we picked up another passenger down the road.

Despite being rather overloaded we made it to Monze by about 21 hrs.

Friday 17th June

I agreed to make another visit to the Finance bank – this time on my own, the treasurer not being free. The guy I saw on Tuesday seemed happy to deal with me and got the manager to ring Lusaka again. In the afternoon I was told the money had been tracked – we will need to confirm that it has been found on Monday.

I decided I would make more samosas on Saturday, so I topped up with the necessary ingredients.

Diven arrived at supper time and joined me.

Saturday 18th June

Jennipher said she would be around at 10 to 11 hrs. I prepared the samosas for a little after 10 hrs. Selina was joining Jennipher, but was delayed at school. As a result it was 14 hrs when they arrived.

Jennipher also came with another girl hoping to recommence school. This girl had been doing a catering course, but had a bad experience during a placement. She believes she was possessed – apparently the owner was a Satanist. In our culture these phenomena are usually dismissed. However there are many things we cannot explain. The girl was by all accounts in a very bad way – not eating among other things. She says that it was prayer that cured her. She now seems to be very well balanced, but understandably doesn't want to go back to catering.

On Friday a bus load of children was travelling from Livingstone to a school just outside Monze for a sports competition in which Selina's school was participating. The bus was travelling at night and came across a stationery lorry too late to avoid a collision. Five of the children were killed and another 7 were taken to hospital with injuries. This is a terrible tragedy and we pray for all those affected. Unfortunately road traffic accidents are only too common here – especially at night. Very few people use seat belts, even if they are available, which adds to the severity of the casualties. I am very aware that the most dangerous thing I do is travel on Zambia's roads.

Selina was obviously less than impressed by samosas. A quick trip was needed to get some bread which allowed me to save the day with egg mayonnaise sandwiches.

Selina decided to sort out my garden. Like her mother she had decided that I was incapable of looking after the place and decided the sweep up all the leaves. She did a great job and Jennipher helped her pick up the piles and put them on the large stack at the back of the garden. One of the neighbour's dogs gave his seal of approval and now makes himself a comfortable bed in the middle of the leaf heap!

I had arranged to see Bright in the afternoon and felt guilty because it was the second time I had postponed the arrangement.

I had more mixture for the samosas, so I cooked more for supper - Raymond joined me.

Sunday 19th June

The elections on August 11th dominate the news here in Zambia. The main election is the Presidential election, but there are also parliamentary and council elections on that day. There is also a referendum on the constitution! I decided to pick up a paper to catch up on the latest. Much of the media here is still effectively government controlled. The Post is independent and often takes a stand in favour of opposition politicians. This is my favoured paper!

Mass was typical except that someone spoke at the end of mass about the voting process – even taking questions from the congregation. Not something I have experienced in the UK – though maybe for our referendum some explanation is needed!!

I made my way to Queen's house for 14hrs. Our prayer meeting was nearby, but there was no way the position could have been described to me with a hope of me finding it. She took me in between various houses for a little while. There were no roads, just buildings almost randomly scattered and people picking a route between them. The session started at about 15hrs and I was back home by 17 hrs.

Diven called around unexpectedly with a builder friend and said he had a little problem! Life is never straightforward here – especially with Diven! Last year he built an impressive drainage system to prevent water getting into the foundations of his property. Apparently he checked with the seller of the adjacent plot and was given the go-ahead. It seems that the new owner disagrees and has had some workmen start to smash the drainage. There seems to be a solution but quick action is needed!! I will check the site tomorrow and hope that an agreed resolution can be found.


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